The Masked Reviewer decided that, since
it's Oscar(tm) season once again, it's high time to see at least one of
the nominated movies this year.
You know, since he's a movie reviewer.
The first choice was Sideways which has been nominated for
directing, writing, and a supporting actor performance.
The movie stars Paul Giamatti, who you may remember from such films
as Private Parts, Confidence, Man on the Moon, and
Planet of the Apes. He also appeared in American
Splendor as a creative, yet schlubby guy. That role has
somewhat been reprised in Sideways. He's creative, but he's
oppressed. And repressed. And depressed. If there's
any kind of pressing, it's happening to Giamatti in this movie.
Thomas Haden Church is also in this film, playing Giamatti's
character's best friend. Thomas Haden Church played Lowell on
"Wings", back when NBC filled the airwaves with laughs on "Must See TV".
Maybe this was before that. He should not be confused with Hayden
Christensen. It's easy to make that mistake...Hayden/Haden.
Church/Christian/Christensen. The later stars as the young Darth
Vader (not to be confused with the really young Darth Vader, Jake
Lloyd...whatever happened to him?)
Also starring in the film is Virginia Madsen, who is Michael Madsen's
brother. How cool is that?
The movie is about friendship and life. There aren't any big
explosions or evil aliens trying to take over the world...although, that
would be a cool twist. Instead, it's what you call a "slice of
life" and a character study. It is brilliantly acted, especially
by Paul Giamatti, who is always good. It's a crime that he
received no nomination for his work on this movie, but no one said life
Another important character in this movie is wine. If you love
wine, you might find the film to be especially interesting -- the life
of the wine snob is explored. If you don't know (or care) about
wine (or whining, for that matter), you'll still find plenty to enjoy.
The performance and direction are great...you learn a lot about the
characters and how they see the world, and it teaches you a little
something about life without being heavy-handed. That's always
nice. The movie has a number of memorable funny scenes, and it's
undoubtedly one of the better "real" movies of the year, even though it
was nominated for an Academy Award (tm).
Expectation from the Title: A movie that was shot with the
camera turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Paul Giamatti could make a living as a professional schlub, but he's
probably doing quite well for himself.
The Pros: Funny, interesting, well-acted.
The Cons: The wind-down is a bit uneven; the role will seem a
bit familiar to Paul Giamatti's fans.
If you're looking for info on Paul
Giamatti or Paul Giamati or Thomas Hayden Church or Hayden Christensen
or Virginia Madesen, then this is the right place.